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Mar Saba Monastery, West Bank, Israel

The Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified, known in Arabic as Mar Saba , is a Greek Orthodox monastery overlooking the Kidron Valley at a point halfway between the Old City of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, within the Bethlehem Governorate of the West Bank.

The traditional date for the founding of the monastery by Sabbas the Sanctified of Mutalaska, Cappadocia is the year 483. Today, the complex houses around 20 monks. It is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world, and still maintains many of its ancient traditions. One in particular is the restriction on women entering the main compound. The only building that women can enter is the Women’s Tower, near the main entrance.

Visit Israel. Epic Israel Adventure route © Monika & Simon Newbound. All rights reserved 2017

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